Outdoor Advertising Control
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Highway Beautification Act, Public Law 89-285, on October 22, 1965. The first section of the law sets forth the basic program objectives: "The erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays, and devices in areas adjacent to the Interstate System and the primary system should be controlled in order to protect the public investment in such highways, to promote the safety and recreational value of public travel, and to preserve natural beauty."
The law mandated State compliance and the development of standards for certain signs as well as the removal of nonconforming signs. Expeditious removal of illegal signs is required by Federal regulations.
- A History and Overview of the Federal Outdoor Advertising Control Program This outline provides general information about the history and background of the outdoor advertising control program.
- Memorandum: FAST Act Information Regarding Service Club, Charitable Association, Or Religious Service Signs (July 2016)
- Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) Q&A (July 2016)
- Highway Beautification overview video: This video provides a brief overview of the Outdoor Advertising and Junkyard Control regulations that protect and preserve the natural beauty along our Nation’s roadways.
- OAC Research: Urban Routes Study Identifying FAP 6/1/91 Urban Routes - This research project will be used to map and conflate federal aid primary urban routes with the previously mapped federal aid rural routes. This data will be used to help Divisions and States provide more effective outdoor advertising control. An overview of FAP routes and a demonstration of the GIS MAP, an online tool that replaces paper records and maps was featured during a webinar. You can access a recording of the webinar online FAP OAC.
- Conflict Assessment: Federal Outdoor Advertising Control Program (or PDF, 443KB) This January 2007 report pursues a conflict assessment to reach out to parties interested in OAC to identify issues that cause controversy and suggest appropriate methods for addressing conflicts and improving program results. With over 100 personal interviews, focus groups and public meetings in seven cities, and over 1,800 comments in the Federal Register, this Assessment has gathered perspectives about the OAC program and reached several fundamental conclusions about conflict in the OAC Program
- Destroyed Sign Guidance (or PDF, 76KB) This September 2009 memorandum explains how the Office of Real Estate Services collaborated with State DOT and interest groups to provide guidance to use in determining if a State has developed adequate criteria to define a destroyed sign.
- Legal Opinion on the FHWA's Interpretation of 23 CFR § 750.708(b), Acceptance of State Zoning for Purposes of the Highway Beautification Act (or PDF, 229k) This legal opinion explains FHWA's process for assessing local zoning for Highway Beautification Act purposes. It is a result of an April 2004 letter from Minnesota requesting clarification of 23 CFR $sect;750.708(b), particularly in light of actions by a Minnesota municipality taken to create a strip zone for outdoor advertising under its comprehensive zoning authority
- National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies (NAHBA) This is a link to the National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies (NAHBA) whose mission is to: "provide leadership in the interpretation, analysis and research of the regulatory process governing the effective control of outdoor advertising consistent with the federal laws and regulations through the fostering of collaborative partnerships, dissemination of information, development of best practices, and necessary training."
- Outdoor Advertising - National Study This study identifies the types of data gathered for the control of outdoor advertising as required by the 1965 Highway Beautification Act.
- Outdoor Advertising Nonconforming Sign Upgrade Pilot Project - Florida This May 2010 memo contains FHWA Guidance to Florida Department of Transportation on the Outdoor Advertising program Nonconforming Sign Upgrade Pilot Project, which allowed upgrading certain nonconforming signs along Interstate 75 in exchange for permanent removal of other nonconforming signs in high priority areas along the same Interstate.
- Outdoor Advertising Nonconforming Sign Upgrade Pilot Project - South Caqrolina This November 2008 memo contains FHWA guidance to the South Carolina DOT regarding a 3 year pilot program that will voluntarily allow the upgrading of certain nonconforming signs along Interstate 95 and Interstate 26 in exchange for permanent removal of others (on a ratio of 2 - 4 removed per 1 upgraded).
- Outdoor Advertising - National Study This 2000 FHWA Office of Real Estate Services (ORES) sponsored national survey of all states in an effort to determine the types of outdoor advertising data each state collects, how it is collected and how that data is maintained and used.
- Outdoor Advertising - State Study This research study conducted in 1999-2000 examined outdoor advertising data collection methods in five states with electronic data management capabilities. The five states identified for the study are New Jersey, Florida, Montana, Kansas, and Missouri.
- Outdoor Advertising Control Practices in Australia, Europe, and Japan This May 2011 report describes the March 2010 International Outdoor Advertising Scan Team research effort, which involved traveling to Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to identify best practices in the outdoor advertising control field.
- Research Review of Potential Safety Effects of Electronic Bilboards on Driver Attention and Distraction This September 2001 report reviewed literature related to the safety implications of electronic billboards and their relationship to roadway and highway safety and recommend a research plan to address knowledge gaps.
- The Possible Effects of Commercial Electronic Variable Message Signs (CEVMS) on Driver Attention and Distraction (or PDF, 446KB) - This February 2009 report reviewed research concerning the possible effects of CEVMS used for outdoor advertising on driver safety, including possible attention and distraction effects. The study identified and evaluated the most significant measures and issues involved, and developed research methods needed to secure reliable data information.
- CEVMS and Driver Visual Behavior Study - Peer Reviewed Report (or PDF, 1.6MB) - The study investigated the effects of CEVMS on driver visual behavior by using an instrumented vehicle with an eye tracking system. FHWA conducted carefully designed test runs in Reading, Pennsylvania, and Richmond, Virginia, with devices placed in the car to measure each driver's eye movements throughout the test runs.
This final report incorporates the study results, as well as the peer review comments.
- Announcement to Amend the Outdoor Advertising Federal/State Agreements
- This January 2014 Federal Register Notice encouraged States to work with their FHWA Division Office to amend their Federal/State Agreement and described the next steps in the Federal/State Agreement amendment process.